What marketing really is and how to identify what isn’t

1) What business owners consider as marketing:

  • Advertising
  • Communication – Promotion
  • Events
  • Logo – corporate identity

2) What specialists consider as marketing:

“Marketing is the placement process of a business in its market, for the benefit of the customer, but with profitable movements for the business as well”.

3) The problem:

Customers are usually left to discover the benefits by themselves. If some businesses yield more benefits for the customer, the rest of the businesses simply copy the extra benefits. When a benefit is offered by many similar businesses, then it ceases being a benefit and becomes a need. It is our duty to then identify or design more benefits, that the competition doesn’t already have.

4) The conclusion:

Marketing is not merely advertising and promotion, but a specific type of business structure that focuses on spotting and attending to the customer’s needs. The promotion strategy defines the structure’s communication towards a targeted clientele.

5) What do we consider as an unattended benefit for the customer?

  • An extra benefit that we have yet to adopt.
  • An extra benefit enjoyed by the customer, without him/her knowing about it or realizing its value.
  • A fact or a benefit of a particular field, that is of personal interest to the customer, but also of collective interest to the community.
  • Something our customer needs, but we are not aware of and thus, we do not provide.

6) What is the nature of a benefit:

The nature of a benefit is different for every customer and moves along the COMPOSE axis:

  • COMfort

– Natural comfort

– Financial comfort

– Time comfort

– Emotional comfort (no exposure / no criticism)

– Responsibilities and duties comfort

  • POwer

– Appeal

– Power and value

– Taking what’s best with solid proof

– Belonging to the powerful, contemporary, trendy

– Giving what’s best to myself / to my child with solid proof

– Taking and offering the best, first

  • SEcurity

– Making sure needs are met

– Making sure benefits are attended to

– Natural safety

– Familiarity

– Control

– Securing COMPOSE* as a whole, as far as duration and quality are concerned

“When benefits are guaranteed by everyone, they become facts and are thus transformed into needs”.

All benefits can be evaluated in terms of practicality, economy and quality/education:

  • Proper communication does not highlight the hidden flaws of our competitors’ benefits, but our own competitive advantages and the effective communication of them to the customer.
  • Customers’ consciousness is malleable, but in the long term customers always judge by result.
  • Results can be visible or not.

7) What does a medium-small business need to do in order to effectively communicate that the customers’ benefits are served?

A) Determine its competitive advantages and in lack of those, develop some

B) Determine what its customers’ special benefits and desires are, and in case they are not known, build a system of communicating and recording them

C) Create a structure that will drive the business to research, develop and communicate competitive advantages, attend to benefits and measure the whole system’s performance

D) Document, control and plan ahead for the resources of this orientation

In other words:

E) Build a successful marketing structure

8) In a saturated market, a happy customer is an excited customer – a fan.

A customer becomes excited by:

– ensuring his/her personal COMPOSE

– a business’ guarantee that the customer’s COMPOSE will be covered

– continuous updating and reminding of the customer’s value, on a personal level, but also through the services we provide.

9) Excited clients are meant to be:

– the end receivers of a service/benefit

– our staff

– our suppliers.

Everyone communicates our competitive advantages and their benefits the way they experience them in our business.

10) A successful marketing structure pursues the standardization and continuous updating of:

  • our identity
  • our policy
  • the terms of our cooperation
  • our system and processes
  • our system of recording and managing what we know of our object, our customers, our personnel and our suppliers
  • our ability to attend to their benefits
  • our ability to communicate all of the above, through a specific promotion strategy that highlights our orientation towards the clients and their satisfaction
  • the strategy’s feasibility study based on cost centers and turnover measurement.

*(Note: The term COMPOSE was used for the first time by Yannis Stergis, writer of the relevant December 2004 article at the Hyphen SA 1st Annual Business Meeting, specifically during the “Marketing – Lost in Translation” seminar, that took place at the Domotel Les Lazaristes in Thessaloniki. Since then, the term COMPOSE and its analysis have been extensively used in many of his marketing seminars, including the relevant seminar on the successful educational programme ROIEDU Business.)

by Yannis Stergis, President & CEO, hyphen SA


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